It has been over a year now that I left my corporate job and became a stay at home dad/blogger. I LOVE being self employed part time. If I knew what a great fit it was, I would have tried to get here much sooner. Every day is like Christmas combined with Thanksgiving!
For this article, I’m scratching my head trying to come up with a list of entertaining reasons why I like being self employed. Of course, wearing PJ all days and not having to go into the office are great, but I’ll try to list the more personal reasons here. Everyone is different and I know many people like the structure of being an employee, but I’m really loving my life right now.
1. Keep More Money
The first thing that popped into my head is I get to keep more of the money I generate. I always felt like I wasn’t being compensated fairly at my old job. In 2012, Intel paid Paul Otellini (CEO) $19 million. Sure, he deserves more compensation than a regular employee, but I don’t think he should get paid that much more. Intel stock went from around $25 to $21 in 2012 and they didn’t make any progress in the mobile market. As an employee and shareholder, I find it offensive that the executives were getting paid so much. I was paid a little over $100,000 and I knew I generated much more revenue for the company than that since I worked in the core CPU group.
Of course, I have no idea how much I really contributed to the bottom line at Intel. It would be nice if they can compute it somehow and pay people accordingly. Now that I run my own business, I know where every dollar goes. For 2013 so far, I get to keep about 85% of the revenue (after expenses.) I LOVE knowing where the money goes.
While I am making much less money overall, I feel good because I’m keeping a bigger piece of the smaller pie. I guess that’s just psychology, but I don’t really care. It is very gratifying to know that I am being fairly compensated for my time and effort. A self employed business can also grow and hopefully at some point I will make about the same pay rate as my old job. I’d be deliriously happy if I ever hit $50,000/year. That would be great for the half time I put in.
2. Residual Value
I’m building a business and it will have some residual value when I’m ready to walk away (I hope.) I’m having a lot of fun right now and I think I can do this for a long time. However, if I can’t handle it someday, I should be able to sell my online properties. Who knows where Retire By 40 will be in 5 or 10 years? Maybe you’ll be able to find Retire By 40 in a public company search.
I’m also building a personal brand. It’s much easier as an entrepreneur to promote yourself. When I was an engineer, everyone always had that glazed over look when I talked about what I did. Now, random strangers have heard of RB40 and it’s pretty cool. Blogging is actually a great stepping stone to building your brand and then branching out to do other stuff.
I don’t like being told what to do, but I just didn’t realize it. I hated going to those mind numbing meetings where everyone is banging away on their laptops. I hated deadlines and all the extra unpaid hours I had to do. I hated being nice to people I didn’t like. I guess I wasn’t really cut out for the corporate culture.
Now I am free to set my own agenda and do whatever I want. I can write about anything I want and promote it how I see fit. Every article doesn’t have to be a home run. I can make a mistake and nobody will have a coronary. I will just learn from those mistakes and take my own sweet time dealing with them. It’s great to be accountable only to myself and not my employer and coworkers. I guess I like being a lone wolf. Life is much simpler now and it’s stupendous.
4. Go At My Own Pace
You know what? Whenever I did an annual review, one of my “strengths” was being a team player. I’m always nice to everyone and can get along with my coworkers. Now I know that’s not really being a team player. It’s just being polite.
This one is actually a bit complicated. I never really liked team sports or rallies. Our family has a form of inherited mitochondria myopathy and I can’t exert myself for an extended period of time. I can do anaerobic activities, but I can’t do much aerobic activities. I’d faint if I overexert myself (ask Mrs. RB40 about our first uphill hiking trip). So team sports that require a lot of running are out for me. I can do some aerobic exercise, but I need to monitor my heart rate to make sure it’s not too high.
So physically, I need to set my own pace and it’s slower than most other people. This must have carried over psychologically. I like going at my slow and steady turtle pace and I dislike being pushed. Self employment enables me to do I what I need in my own time.
5. Flexible Schedule
Working part time is really the key for me. I don’t have to put in a full day and as a blogger, my schedule is very flexible. I’m writing this post at midnight while RB40 Jr. and I are visiting my brothers in CA. I can be a stay at home dad and spend time with my son most of the day and snatch a few hours here and there to work. Being a stay at home parent is not for everyone, but I love it. I always wanted a son and I can’t believe I’m able to spend so much time with him. It’s inconceivable!
When I had a full time job, the kid was at daycare for 55 hours/week. That’s way too much time with strangers.
Self employment is a great fit for me
I can’t tell you how much I enjoy being self employed. While I do feel accountable to myself (and to my readers), I find the hours that I put into my online business to be so much more rewarding than when I was working for a mega corporation. It’s gratifying to know where every dollar and hour of my time goes. I can go at my own pace and slowly build up my online empire without having to compete with a coworker. The added bonus of being able to spend such an amazing amount of time with RB40 Jr. and my family. That alone is worth the decision to be self-employed. Of course, I’m making less money, but we can live with that so it’s not a big deal.
Are you self employed? What are some unusual reasons why you like it?
Photo credit: flickr katie@!